David Cella is the Ralph Seal Paffenbarger Professor of Health Care Studies and Chair of the Department of Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. After receiving his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University of Chicago in 1984, he completed fellowships at Cornell University Medical College and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and then spent 10 years at Rush Medical College, where he rose to Director of the Division of Psychosocial Oncology before joining Northwestern in 1997.
Cella is a member of numerous scientific organizations, including the International Society for Quality of Life Research, the International Society for Pharmacoeconomic and Outcomes Research, the American Psychological Association, the Society for Behavioral Medicine, the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. He has been recognized with the following awards: Cancer Wellness Center Inaugural Volunteer Recognition Award (1997; subsequent awards are given in his name), The Davis Family Chair of Outcomes Research (2007-2009), The International Society of Quality of Life (ISOQOL) President’s Award (2008) and two article of the year awards (2007; 2013), the American Cancer Society Trish Greene Quality of Life Award (2012), the Health Assessment Laboratory/Medical Outcomes Trust John Ware and Alvin Tarlov Career Achievement Award in Patient Reported Outcomes Measures (2014), and the National Academy of Medicine Gustav O. Lienhard Award (2016). He is also an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (2019), named Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (2019), Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher (2015-2018), and Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher (2017-2020).
Cella has served on numerous patient reported outcomes and person centered care advisory panels, and he consults, collaborates with, or advises the following entities on person-centered measurement and applications relevant to their mission: US Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, The National Quality Forum, The American Cancer Society, and Cancer Care Ontario.
Cella developed and is continually refining the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT) Measurement System for outcome evaluation in patients with chronic medical conditions. He was steering committee chair and principal investigator of the statistical coordinating center for the NIH Roadmap Initiative to build a Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS). Currently, he is principal investigator of a cooperative agreement to curate and sustain PROMIS along with three other measurement systems, under the umbrella heading of HealthMeasures: A National Person Centered Assessment Resource.
Over the past 30 years, Cella has trained over 100 PhD and MD scientists, including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty. His K12 training grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality enables him to pursue this passion with emerging leaders in patient-centered outcomes research. He has published more than 900 peer-reviewed articles, most of which focus on the unique impact that the patient perspective has on the evaluation of health and health care, and his Scopus h-index as of March 2021 is 139.